Daughter’s lasting cancer care tips

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher

A MUM has published thousands of advice leaflets which were written by her daughter before she died of cancer.

Megan Elizabeth Fletcher, 21, died after a 16-month battle with refractory Hodgkin’s lymphoma in May last year.

Before she died Megan, who lived with her parents Fiona and Ian and sister Becky in Wern, Bersham, wrote advice about dealing with cancer on a practical basis.

Her mum Fiona said following Megan’s death she was deeply moved to find that her daughter had started to collect all the advice about how to ‘be’ and live life with cancer.

Fiona, 47, said: “To discover Megan had dedicated valuable time and energy during what was to be the remainder of her life, trying to produce something that would fill the gap she experienced, giving positivity and empowerment to any cancer patient, regardless of age, gender, belief or prognosis, is remarkable and fills me with immense pride.

“Tragically she was unable to complete her mission.”

Now Fiona has created 5,000 leaflets called ‘My Name is NOT Cancer’ which includes original work and a mission statement from Megan.

The leaflets are made out of paper with a silk finish as Meg had, and other cancer sufferers often get, peripheral neuropathy which is a loss of feeling in fingers and toes which can also make things feel abrasive.

Fiona has also created a website www.mynameisnotcancer.com which has advice about dealing with cancer and invites those affected to get in touch about their experiences.

Fiona has distributed the leaflet to Wrexham Maelor Hospital and to various other hospitals in the UK and a doctor has even taken the leaflet to India.

She said: “It’s about helping people understand a little of what it is like to have cancer and to not be defined by it.

“You were a person with a life before diagnosis and will be after.”

Last year the proud family accepted a posthumous degree – an Aegrotat Bachelor of Science Human Biosciences – on what would have been Megan’s 22nd birthday.

Megan had started her studies into a three-year degree in human biosciences at the University of Plymouth in September 2008.

Despite being diagnosed with the cancer in January 2009 Megan continued with her studies and completed the first year of her course.

Fiona said: “Throughout Megan’s battle with cancer she had an energy and drive that supported her ability to retain her identity and not ‘get lost’ in the rigors everything cancer entails.

“We had many conversations relating to not ‘getting lost’ in cancer and I was aware that Meg then started to produce her own information which she believed as a cancer patient would benefit others.

“I would often remind Megan that her name was not cancer and that phrase was adopted by Megan when she needed that extra bit of emotional strength to face her journey.

“She felt empowered, saying "my name is not cancer", and the simplicity of those five words encouraged her to be her own person, not a victim of cancer.”

If you want to see a copy of the leaflet it is available by PDF download from www.mynameisnotcancer.com.

Organisations or hospital departments who wish to have the leaflet can buy copies for 10p from the website.

See full story in the Leader

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